Maybe one day, Philadelphia sports fans will forgive Ben Simmons for not playing at all last season with the 76ers, not shooting in four straight fourth quarters, and the game in which he passed the ball to the only Sixer who was arguably worse. like him instead of rubbing Trae Young.
Stranger things have happened. I’m sure no one thought in 1967 that Mike Ditka would return to the Chicago Bears and win a Super Bowl as a head coach. Jay Z and Nas have recorded several songs together.
On Tuesday night, Ben Simmons will take the field for the first time in Philadelphia in a different uniform than the home team. The fans will be in full forceEther” and “To take over” atmosphere from the moment you leave the hotel. It will be like the last time the Brooklyn Nets played in Philly last season and Simmons was injured. But hopefully, with fans actually able to voice their displeasure with an active Simmons, maybe they can bring some closure to what has been a disappointing season of 76ers basketball.
Simmons wasn’t simply the No. 1 pick. He was considered a potential generational talent. Longer than LeBron James, but with court vision. Simmons was drafted in to lead Philly’s offense from Day 1, but broke his foot and missed the entire 2016-17 season.
The following season, Simmons was named Rookie of the Year and the 76ers posted their most wins – 52 – since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001. They lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2018 playoffs, but Embiid and Simmons appeared to have a bright future ahead of them. Jimmy Butler was added before the 2018-19 season and pushed the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors to the brink.
Instead of holding the three with Tobias Harris, Butler was traded and the offense was once again in the hands of Simmons. Ask any 76ers fan, and they’ll likely tell you he steered the team into a tree.
Rumblings of discontent plagued Philadelphia, as did Simmons’ frightening free-throw numbers and reluctance to shoot outside the paint. Sixers were terrible in the 2020 bubble playoffs after Brett Brown was fired and Doc Rivers was hangry. In the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, the 76ers finished first in the East. Embiid was an All-NBA performer and Simmons was first-team All-Defense.
I listed all of this to show not only how much success Simmons had with the 76ers, but also that last season was all his. sixth in the NBA and didn’t even play in the first.
Defeated in the second round by a team that had crept up to the fifth seed after their coach was fired mid-season, this colossal failure had to be explained. Yes, Doc Rivers and Embiid were blamed, but this aborted dunk was treated as the final verdict on Simmons’ career. After losing Game 7, his coach and star teammate made little attempt to defend himself in front of the public jury.
Simmons admitted in September The old man and the three that he struggled mentally both during the streak and in the months that followed. He didn’t feel enough support from the organization, and that bothered him too. It all led to this practice when everything boiled. Rivers kicked him out of practice and that was it, or at least it should have been, for Simmons’ time in Philly.
Two days after that, Philly general manager Daryl Morey decided 2021 was a great idea for a show of strength on local sports radio, where he said:it can last for years. In years, he reached the trade deadline and got back a limping James Harden, Paul Millsap and two first-round picks — one of which is 2027 and top-eight protected.
Simmons decided not to play for the 76ers. After the exchange, the back injury did not completely end the last season for him, he did not want to play for them anymore. It would have been best for both parties to separate, but Morey held out until the last moment. In the process, he torched his team’s season and didn’t significantly improve the roster. The team’s biggest improvement has been Tyrese Maxey taking another step this season, which still hasn’t been enough to avoid a rough start.
Persistence forced Philadelphia sports fans to deal with the fact that a player refused to play for them on a daily basis. Combine that with the bad feelings the last time he wore a Philadelphia jersey and, of course, Simmons’ outpouring of hate in a game he hadn’t even played in when the Nets were there last season.
This time, they can see him introduce himself in the starter, dribble the ball down the court and shoot free throws. This will be LeBron’s first game in Cleveland with Miami Heat type energy.
Perhaps it is necessary for all parties to get this moment. For Simmons to go up against Rivers and Embiid and to accept, within reason, whatever the fans have to dish out. She recently told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that it felt good to be able to express herself on the podcast and do whatever she needed to. “day to day.”
There is a lot of history between Simmons and the 76ers that has happened in a short amount of time. Award-winning highs and nasty playoff-stirring lows. This game could go a long way toward finally coming to terms with what happened, and maybe even helping both teams—although the Nets have a lot more public internal drama these days than the 76ers—run back to the top of the East.